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Quotations on Age

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Age - that period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we no longer have the enterprise to commit.

~ Ambrose Bierce

At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgment.

~ Benjamin Franklin


Gray hair is God's graffiti.

~ Bill Cosby

Oh, who could have foretold
That the heart grows old?

~ William Butler Yeats

- 1919

How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young -- or slender.

~ William James

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

~ Oscar Wilde

The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.

~ Oscar Wilde

- The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

As I give thought to the matter, I find four causes for the apparent misery of old age: first, it withdraws us from active accomplishments; second, it renders the body less powerful; third, it deprives us of almost all forms of enjoyment; fourth, it stands not far from death.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

There's no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.

~ Edith Wharton

It is not possible for civilization to flow backward while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance its allotted length.

~ Helen Keller

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

~ Anaïs Nin

Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.

~ W. Somerset Maugham

- The Summing Up, 1938

To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Nobody loves life like him who is growing old.

~ Sophocles

- Acrisius, 5th cent. B.C.

My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.

~ Thomas Jefferson

- letter to Philip Mazzei, March 1801

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

~ H.L. Mencken

- Prejudices: Third Series, 1922

The best years are the forties; after fifty a man begins to deteriorate, but in the forties he is at the maximum of his villainy.

~ H.L. Mencken

You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.

~ Plato

Old age has a great sense of calm and freedom. When the passions have relaxed their hold, you have escaped not from one master but from many.

~ Plato

We are reformers in spring and summer; in autumn and winter, we stand by the old; reformers in the morning, conservers at night.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

- The Conservative

It is easy to believe that life is long and one's gifts are vast -- easy at the beginning, that is. But the limits of life grow more evident; it becomes clear that great work can be done rarely, if at all.

~ Alfred Adler

Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.

~ Benjamin Disraeli

- 1844

When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to retire from the world.

~ Benjamin Disraeli

- Lothair, 1870

Old age is fifteen years older than I am.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

- also attributed to Bernard Baruch in slightly different form

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible - and achieve it, generation after generation.

~ Pearl S. Buck

Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked.

~ Pearl S. Buck

We should so provide for old age that it may have no urgent wants of this world to absorb it from meditation on the next.

~ Pearl S. Buck

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

~ Pearl S. Buck

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.

~ Pearl S. Buck

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.

~ Robert Frost

One aged man - one man - can't fill a house.

~ Robert Frost

- An Old Man's Winter Night in Mountain Interval, 1923

Old men are always young enough to learn, with profit.

~ Aeschylus

- Agamemnon, 5th cent. BC

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

~ Mark Twain

Among all my patients in the second half of life ... there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.

~ Carl Gustav Jung

A woman has the age she deserves.

~ Coco Chanel

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.

~ Coco Chanel

Perhaps a modern society can remain stable only by eliminating adolescence, by giving its young, from the age of ten, the skills, responsibilities, and rewards of grownups, and opportunites for action in all spheres of life. Adolescence should be a time of useful action, while book learning and scholarship should be a preoccupation of adults.

~ Eric Hoffer

The old begin to complain of the conduct of the young when they themselves are no longer able to set a bad example.

~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.

~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.

~ Maurice Chevalier

- attributed, but not verified

Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else.

~ Ogden Nash

The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill. There is time to hear the kind voice of friends and to say to one's self: "The work is done."

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The Riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

- radio address on his 90th birthday, March 8, 1931

Oh, to be seventy again! [at age 92, upon seeing a pretty young woman]

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

- 1933

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.

~ Sir Arthur Pinero

I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.

~ T.S. Eliot

I grow old...I grow old...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

~ T.S. Eliot

- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1917

One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.

~ Virginia Woolf

One keeps on forgetting old age up to the very brink of the grace.

~ Colette

- My mother and Illness in My Mother's House, 1922

Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old.

~ Jonathan Swift

It takes a long time to become young.

~ Pablo Picasso

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too...

~ John Keats

- To Autumn in Poems, 1820

It is after you have lost your teeth that you can afford to buy steaks.

~ Pierre Auguste Renoir

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

~ Lewis Carroll

- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865

I am long on ideas, but short on time. I expect to live to be only about a hundred.

~ Thomas A. Edison

Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow so.

~ Tyron Edwards

It is not how old you are, but how you are old.

~ Jules Renard

Being seventy is not a sin.

~ Golda Meir

- Reader's Digest, July 1971

Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form.

~ André Maurois

For you and I are past our dancing days.

~ William Shakespeare

- Romeo and Juliet, I, v

So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

~ Lord Byron

- 1817

To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.

~ Bernard Baruch

- news reports on his 85th birthday, Aug 20, 1955

When everything else physical and mentel seems to diminish, the appreciation of beauty is on the increase.

~ Bernard Berenson

- Sunset and Twilight, 1963

With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

~ The Bible

- Job 12:12

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.

~ Robert Browning

- Rabbi Ben Ezra, 1864

All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

~ Charles Lamb

- The old familiar faces, 1820

dance mehitabel dance
caper and shake a leg
what little blood is left
will fizz like wine in a keg.

~ Don Marquis

Being over seventy is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone an we survive amongst the dead and dying as on a battlefield.

~ Muriel Spark

- Memento Mori, 1959

There are so few who can grow old with a good grace.

~ Richard Steele

- The Spectator, Jan.1, 1711-12

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man.

~ Leon Trotsky

- Diary in Exile, May 8, 1935

The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.

~ Clarence Darrow

In youth we run into difficulties, in old age difficulties run into us.

~ Josh Billings

I speak truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more, as I grown older.

~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

The woman who tells her age is either too young to have anything to lose or too old to have anything to gain.

~ Proverbs

- Chinese Proverb

My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain.

~ W.H. Auden

A man is not old as long as he is seeking something.

~ Jean Rostand

Age ... is a matter of feeling, not of years.

~ George William Curtis

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

~ James A. Garfield

I refuse to admit I'm more than fifty-two, even if that does make my sons illegitimate.

~ Lady Nancy Astor

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

~ Thomas Paine

To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent - that is to triumph over old age.

~ Thomas Bailey Aldrich

One of the delights known to age, and beyond the grasp of youth, is that of Not Going.

~ J.B. Priestley

As you get older, the pickings get slimmer, but the people don't.

~ Carrie Fischer

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.

~ Andrew Carnegie

I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.

~ Michel de Montaigne

If you're a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes.

~ Mickey Spillane

The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the older man who will not laugh is a fool.

~ Victor Sawdon Pritchett

People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live...[We] never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.

~ Albert Einstein

- in a letter to Otto Juliusburger

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

~ George Burns


If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age.

~ George Burns

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